British Cycling suspended its Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy with immediate effect on Friday, denying transgender women the chance to compete in domestic women’s races until the policy was reviewed.
British Cycling said it had taken the decision to suspend the policy due to differences between its own policy and that of the world governing body (UCI).
Transgender women were allowed to compete under the prior rules as long as their testosterone levels were less than the allowable five nanomoles per liter in the five months leading up to the tournament.
This policy has now been revoked, sparking criticism within the sporting world.
Their statement reads: “On Wednesday 6 April the British Cycling Board of Directors voted in favor of an immediate suspension of the current policy, pending a full review, which will be initiated in the coming weeks.
“While the current policy was created following an extensive external and internal consultation, the review will allow us time for further discussion with all stakeholders, including women and the transgender and non-binary communities, as we strive to provide all within our sport with the clarity and understanding they deserve.
“As an organization, we remain committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are welcomed, supported, and celebrated in the cycling community, and the inclusion of these groups within non-competitive activities remains unaffected by the suspension.”
British Cycling has withdrawn its inclusive policy with immediate effect, and will instead conduct a “complete study” before announcing any further actions, much to the surprise of many.
This tense issue of transgender athletes competing in female-only sports is proven to be profoundly divisive in the sporting world, with organizations’ regulations varying widely.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week: “I don’t think biological males should be competing in female sporting events.”
“Maybe that’s a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible.”
In response to US transgender swimmer Lia Thomas being permitted to compete in female-only races, Caitlyn Jenner expressed a similar opinion. “I feel sorry for the other athletes that are out there, especially at Penn or anybody she’s competing against, because in the woke world, you’ve got to say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is great,’ No, it’s not,” she recently said on Fox News.
Jenner went on to explicitly state that ‘biological boys should not compete against biological girls’.
The news comes after the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport’s worldwide governing body, banned transgender racer Emily Bridges from racing in her maiden female event.
British Cycling originally backed the 21-year-old, who began hormone medication in 2021 as part of her treatment for gender dysphoria.
The governing body called for a “coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”